Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Lime Marmalade with Juniper

I've been trying to perfect my Lime Marmalade for several years and I may have just arrived at my goal of getting a good set.  My last batch even won a first prize at a competition, but I was still not at all happy, as it was far too sloppy for my liking.  The judges just take a spoonful from the top, but I like to see a consistent set throughout the jar.  I recently gave a jar to my friend Marie Claire as they had no marmalade left, and she had missed the Seville Orange slot as they were in New Zealand.  Since I taught Marie Claire how to make jam and marmalade about three years ago, she and Steve have been enjoying making their own preserve.  Of course I sent it over with my apologies.  One very good thing has come out of this gift, is that Steve searched the internet, and found that generally there is a problem with lime marmalade as the acidity is too high.  Dan Lepard, one of my food heroes mentioned this in the Guardian.

Like the chestnuts which I wrote about earlier, I am always attracted to limes.  I love the flavour, and the colour, and the very best of limes were the small Citron de Rodrigues.  I'm not sure if they were lemons or limes, but the flavour is fabulous, and I have loved those since my early childhood.

I had about 500g limes, which I cut into quarters only, and put them just like that in water to soak overnight, with about half the amount of water 0.75litres rather than the 1.5 litres as I was pressure cooking the fruit.  Usually you pressure cook oranges for marmalade at 10lbs pressure, but I know from experience that limes are tough.  I gave them about ten minutes at 15lbs, before turning off the gas.  Then I let the fruit soak overnight in the liquor.  The next morning I scraped all the flesh and most of the pith, cut the peel into shreds, and brought the peel and drained liquid up to boil.  I looked at the pith and flesh, and since there were no pips, wondered why I was throwing it away, so decided to pulverise it and added it to the pan, with 1Kg of Tate & Lyle Sugar, and half a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda.  It really frothed up, so I was pleased that despite the small amount of marmalade had decided to use the large jamming pan for the boiling stage of the marmalade.  I used the jam thermometer to test for 105C, then put some in a ramekin dish in the fridge.

The empty washed and rinsed jars had had their 10 minutes in a hot oven, and I was ready to pot, when I had an idea....

Why not add some Juniper.  I love Gin, and good tonic, and a slice of lime.  What I particularly like about Gin is the Juniper which is used to give some of the flavour.  I love juniper so much, I often add it to pork and chicken dishes...

I've potted up two medium and one small jar without juniper, and reheated the remaining lime marmalade in the pan and added about 10 berries, bruised in a mortar, waited about ten minutes again for the marmalade to cool and start to jell so that the peel remains evenly distributed.  I'll wait a few weeks for the flavours to blend, then do a taste test.  When I send round one of each to Marie Claire and Steve, no apologies will be necessary, I hope.

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